Snowdon #10kfornurses

Earlier this month I had my sponsored walk up Snowdon to raise money for the Cavell Nurses Trust.

We knew in advance the weather forecast was bad and Storm Callum did not disappoint. We had a difficult journey to Wales on Friday night with heavy rain, strong winds, fallen trees and a random sheep jumping out in front of the car. We made it safely to our hotel eventually and found many others were still travelling due to closed roads and power cuts.

The next morning the rain and wind continued and we soon learnt that it was not safe to attempt to get to the summit of Snowdon. The winds at the summit were estimated to be about 80mph. An alternative route was planned and set off on a 10km walk at lower levels following the Llanberis path.

The first part of the walk was utterly miserable. The rain and wind were blowing directly into our faces and felt like thousands of icy pinpricks. The paths were small rivers. Despite all the waterproof gear, it was quickly clear that hoods were pointless and we were soon soaked. Several times I wondered what on Earth I was doing. I was determined not to fall back in the pack of walkers as I didn’t want to be the slowest person so with encouragement from others I kept going. Sudden gusts of wind meant you had to walk in small groups and just grab each other for safety whenever a gust took you.

Soon we were rewarded with a change in direction and we were out of the worst of the wind. Although it was still raining the walk actually became enjoyable and I was even brave enough to get my phone out for some photos. The view wasn’t up to much though because of all the cloud

We continued on up the path and reached the Halfway House. The building gave a little shelter to have some food and take some more photos.

Our group continued on a little further and the weather suddenly became much worse. I was blown over and thankfully caught by someone immediately behind me. We reached a point where we were on our knees, clutching onto a fence post and still being battered around by the wind. Thankfully at this point our group turned around and we headed back for Llanberis.

Back the hotel I realised I was completely saturated apart from my feet. I was grateful for the stupidly expensive walking boots and decided they had been worth the money. The £7 waterproof trousers are another story.

Despite all the challenge I really enjoyed it. I’m determined to return to Snowdon and make it to the summit. The return trip is currently planned for May next year.

Crochet Daisy Cushion

I recently made a present for someone who was leaving work. Over the last couple of years I’ve been asked to make a number of daisy themed things for work and it felt right to combine a daisy theme with this persons favourite colour, pink.

I’d previously used a pattern by Bautawitch to create hearts with daisies inside a granny square.

They were gifts for visitors from America so I picked the red, white and blue theme to symbolise the colours of both our countries flags.

It was a simple quick make so I decided to return to the same pattern and create a combination of lots of shades of pink for a cushion cover.

I used up oddments of pink that I had left over but also bought some Scheepjes Cotton 8. The whole cushion is cotton and made with a 2.5mm hook.

I made 36 squares before assembling altogether in a random order. I got a cushion from Matalan and sewed the panel in place on the front.

I was really pleased with the final piece and it was well received when I handed it over last week.

This is the link to the original pattern by Bautawitch

Trail to Spernal and the Heart of England Forest

We’re members of the National Trust and I’ve recently discovered their walking page. It’s a helpful search engine of walks starting at their properties (free parking and usually a tea room!) You can search by location and distance which helps narrow down if you have a target distance in mind

Through this I found the Trail to Spernal and the Heart of England Forest starting at Coughton Court in Warwickshire.

It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday so we decided to make the most of the weather and head over there. I’d forgotten to check the opening times though so we had to hang around waiting for the car park to open.

It was a relatively easy walk across farmland and along well used footpaths. One of the highlights listed was the views of Studley Castle. Sadly it’s completely covered in scaffolding at the moment so not much of a view. Samuel felt it looked more like Oscorp than a castle.

We had one set back where we got lost. There was a couple with their dog following the same trail. We shared our confusion and I decided to follow their advice – wrong decision! At the point they decided to climb a locked gate which wasn’t marked as a footpath I decided to retrace our steps and try again. Using the satellite image on my phone and a bit of hunting, Samuel managed to find a well hidden gate and footbridge which we had missed first time round.

It all added to the fun and helpfully added another mile onto the days total.

The trail follows sections of the Arden Way and the Millennium Way.

I also took the opportunity to try out my new winter walking trousers. They were a bit too warm but I’m happy they’ll be fine for Snowdon in two weeks time. I’m starting to panic about layering and temperature so I’m hoping I’ve got enough options to be comfortable whatever the weather.

After 7 miles we felt we deserved a sit down and a sausage roll at Coughton Court and also enjoyed looking round the house and some stunning stained glass.

Challenge myself: Snowdon

Over the summer I decided to give myself a 40 before 40 challenge. I plan to share more of that in the coming weeks and months.

One of my first plans was…

I’ve found I love being outdoors in big open spaces. I’m very claustrophobic and being outside seems to temper that perfectly. When I’m stressed or overwhelmed a long walk in the woods always helps.

For a long time I’ve wanted to do more adventurous walks but time and kids has limited this to an extent. I’ve decided no more excuses and I simply have to do it.

Over the summer I found the Cavell Nurses Trust were doing a fundraising drive in October #10kfornurses. One option was to run 10k or take part in an organised walk up Snowdon. I hate running so the Snowdon climb was far more attractive and fitted my bill of a big sponsored challenge and spending more time outside and walking.

Climbing Snowdon is a big challenge to me (yes, I know some climb it in flip flops) but I want this to be a start. I’ve looked several times at big treks and have a long term goal of trekking to Machu Picchu. Thankfully Steven shares this and it’s currently planned for when the kids leave home!

So, I’m enjoying preparing for this and we’ve had some great days out that we’ve all enjoyed

So on 13th October I will be climbing Snowdon to raise money for the Cavell Nurses Trust. They support UK nurses, midwives and HCAs, whether working or retired, with money and support when they are living through personal or financial hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age. Put simply, they’re ‘Here for Nurses’.

Summer memories

This summer was the best weather-wise for years and we took full advantage of it. I also had 3 weeks of the school summer holidays off work so we were very busy

We started the summer with a trip to Lord’s Cricket Ground to start Steven’s 40th birthday celebrations. We’ve previously been to the SCG and the MCG and it always felt wrong we hadn’t been to Lord’s so we’ve now ticked that off the list.

We also went to the Tower of London on one of the hottest days. It was a great day despite the heat. The temperature is my main memory. Queuing in the sun for the Crown Jewels. We went on the ferry to try and cool down but even this didn’t work.

We also walked….

We got very wet at a music festival….

We bought a tent….

We learnt about Frida Kahlo at the Victoria and Albert Museum…

And we spent many evenings sitting in the garden getting through large quantities of marshmallows

So after a brilliant summer my plan is to make the most of Autumn

The new rules

Time for a blog reboot!

I had a healthy amount of time off work over the summer and as usual it left me feeling reflective. This time I’ve constructively journaled, pondered and set some goals and rules for myself.

Last year was hard for a variety of reasons but I’ve emerged the other side and now want to take this forward positively. I’ve got back to reading other blogs which have been very helpful and also inspiring. Whether anyone reads this isn’t really my goal. It’s just the commitment and part of my journaling process.

So, I need new rules to go forward and I’ve simply come up with two –

1. No discussion of work

It’s not an overly positive place for me at the moment. It already takes up too much of my head space in a negative way and I’m not going to drag it out more than I have to!

2. More of what makes me happy

To balance off work I need to focus on the good, the positive and the things that make me happy.

I’m starting small with modest expectations and seeing where it takes me